To beat stress and sleep disruption, learn how to deal with sleep deprivation in nine ways.
How to Deal with Sleep Deprivation and Get Your Happy Life Back
1. Know Your Own Body Clock
How to deal with sleep deprivation caused by stress? The first step is to know your body.
What is your circadian rhythm or internal body clock?
Usually, the body’s internal clock is responsive or sensitive to light:
- When you wake up, the adrenal glands secrete stress hormones, such as cortisol. They keep your heart pumping and your mind focused and alert.
- As dusk rolls on, your cortisol levels drop. It helps prepare your body for sleep.
- By night, the body produces melatonin, a hormone that further relaxes you. This way, you can fall asleep and hopefully wake up well-rested.
One sleep doctor said, though, that not everyone follows the same pattern. Dr. Michael Breus asserts that a person can fall into four chronotypes:
Sometimes, your chronotype can be a combination of two or more. The point is every person’s internal clock can be unique.
You still need to strive to sleep for seven to nine hours, but you may have to adjust your sleep schedule according to your chronotype.
2. Don’t Drink Coffee Before Bedtime
Sleep deprivation effects can vary. In the short-term, you may feel irritable, moody, and exhausted.
It won’t be unusual for you to reach for a cup of joe as a pick-me-up. It may do more harm than good, however.
Coffee has caffeine, which may give you energy, but it can also increase palpitations and even headaches, especially if you’re sensitive to it.
Not only will you struggle to sleep after, but it will also make you more anxious. It intensifies your feelings of stress.
You can go for tea, but the likes of green and black tea also have caffeine in smaller amounts. Better options are herbal teas, such as lavender, peppermint, and chamomile.
3. Watch Your Diet
Disturbances in sleep and stress can worsen when you have a poor diet. It becomes more challenging when you have hormonal imbalances.
- Eating a heavy meal in the evening can possibly lead to indigestion or bloating.
- Low levels of thyroid hormones and estrogen can result in feelings of fatigue.
- Low iron levels may indicate anemia, which makes you feel tired.
- A diet low in protein or fat may make you feel hungrier.
High-stress levels can affect your cognition and focus. You may make poor food choices, such as eating junk food or processed food.
A proper diet, though, can help you manage stress and sleep more effectively. If you have hypothyroidism, you can follow this diet.
To stick to a healthy meal plan, you can try meal preparation. It lessens the need to think about what to eat.
Another way to deal with sleep deprivation when stressed is by incorporating fats, fiber, and protein. These can make you feel fuller and reduce the chances of an insulin spike.
What is insulin? It is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels.
4. Pick Your Exercise
Are you suffering from stress-induced insomnia? Perhaps as a way to pass the time and “wear yourself out,” you exercise.
In some cases, the effects are the opposite—that is, they keep you awake. Cardiovascular exercises, such as running, can increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
Some exercises can slow down your heart rate and relax you. These include yoga, swimming, Pilates, and other low-impact exercises.
5. Give Yourself a Chance to Reset Sleep
If you’re feeling the effects of sleep deprivation from stress, then give yourself a break as soon as you can. Better yet, spend a weekend in the outdoors.
A 2017 study revealed that spending a weekend camping in the outdoors can help reset your body clock. It brings it 2.5 hours closer to your ideal wake-sleep cycle.
Other studies also showed how the outdoors, especially nature, can lower your stress levels.
If you don’t have time to pack your bags, you can pitch a tent in your backyard. Just make sure to turn off as many artificial or electric lights as possible.
6. Practice Meditation
Stress and insomnia can happen for many reasons. There’s work, relationships, illness, and a whole lot more.
You can learn how to deal with sleep deprivation due to stress by lowering it. One technique is to practice meditation.
The process helps fight anxiety by slowing down your heart rate and letting your mind focus on a different object.
It can even help you manage stress up to the cellular level. A 2013 research cited how it can improve your body’s inflammatory response.
There are many types of meditations, and you can explore which one is best for you. For beginners, you may benefit from a guided meditation for five to ten minutes.
7. Soak in an Epsom Bath
How to deal with sleep deprivation or stress-related insomnia? Try an Epsom bath.
First, a bath soak always feels good since it relaxes your body. Epsom bath takes the benefits up a notch.
It may help relieve mood issues, such as depression and anxiety, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It is rich in magnesium that helps induce sleep in two ways:
- Magnesium releases the tension of muscles.
- It also helps produce neurotransmitters that promote sleep.
8. Stop Tinkering with Your Phone
A lot of people use their mobile devices to distract themselves from stress. They listen to music, play games, or watch videos.
Some of these activities are great, but using your mobile device before sleeping is not.
It can disrupt your circadian rhythm. The light which the devices emit can trick the brain into thinking it’s already daylight.
Tinkering with your phone or laptop before snoozing also forces your brain to remain active when it already wants to rest.
Try to avoid using your mobile device 30 minutes to an hour before falling asleep. Don’t use it as your alarm either but instead get a real one.
9. Take a Nap
A good sleep deprivation treatment is taking a nap—preferably a power nap. This one lasts between 10 and 30 minutes.
They’re short, so you don’t get into deep sleep or REM sleep when the brain is the most active. It’s enough time to rejuvenate your body and mind, said the National Sleep Foundation.
They can reduce biomarkers of stress, such as blood pressure, cortisol, and heart rate. Power naps can also help you cope with sleep deficits.
Can stress cause insomnia? Yes, it does.
You may even find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle. Stress lets you lose sleep while sleep deprivation worsens your feelings of stress.
Learning how to deal with sleep deprivation or practicing proper sleep hygiene today is essential to end the cycle. To understand your sleep health better, you can get help from LIV Health.
How do you manage stress insomnia? List down your tips in the comments section below!